Monday, May 28, 2018

My Seven Days of Silence

I’ve signed up for meditation classes where I spent significant time in silence. I’ve attended retreats where silence was a part of the program. I planned for these times, understood the purpose and made sure my family knew the schedule. I made sure everything was neat, tidy and effective.

I’m finishing up a seven day period that has been anything but planned, neat or tidy. Has it been effective? 

Try mind blowing. Life changing. I’ve experienced pain, healing and an honest to God epiphany. Yeah, I’d say it’s been effective.

Early last week I returned from a trip to Toronto with what I thought was severe laryngitis and flu like symptoms. I was diagnosed with a particularly nasty “bug” that sometimes effects travelers and was given heavy duty antibiotics with steroids. And ordered to be on “total voice rest” for seven days. SEVEN DAYS WITHOUT TALKING. This seemed impossible but since I could barely speak anyway and was in such pain, I agreed. I had to teach in 12 days and couldn’t have my voice compromised long term.

I believe physical symptoms are a result of internal issues and I tried to go to work figuring out my psyche. I was too ill. I decided to surrender to the experience and asked for guidance. I got it.

The first few days I was weak and stayed mostly in bed or on the couch. I began to notice a few things. Because I couldn’t speak, people stopped talking to me. I could text and had a small wipe off board to communicate with my husband, but he even stopped talking to me besides an occasional, “How do you feel? Need anything?” By the afternoon of day three, he took me for a ride to get out of the house and we went to a couple stores and to dinner. I had a note from my doctor that stated “total voice rest” that I’d show to store clerks or people we saw. To a person, when they realized I couldn’t speak they stopped talking to me. They’d gesture the way I had to or simply nod. What was THAT about?

My daughter tried a video chat with my beloved 15-month-old grandson but he was confused and uninterested when his GiGi couldn’t speak. He’s used to my voice and didn’t seem to connect to my image on the screen without sound. I missed talking with my kids and my cat was downright traumatized. Evidently, I usually talk A LOT.

My dear sister did her best to cheer me up with a visit on day four. We’d both been on trips and as she did her best to talk to me, it was obvious our normal communication style was severely altered. Bless her heart, she stayed for several hours as she told me about her trip and tried to interpret my gestures and the short hand notes I wrote on my board. We laughed, and I felt better.

The magic of the experience came as a result of looking at the events that had transpired in Toronto and keeping a small journal of my thoughts and feelings during the seven days. I did understand the emotional reason for my illness but didn’t yet realize the gifts that were in store.

As a result of not speaking, I felt terribly isolated and alone. I felt like no one understood or was “listening” to me. I felt like a burden to my husband, although he never did anything to insinuate that. It was all in my head.

I realized something. While this experience was only seven days for me, millions of people live with the feelings of isolation and loneliness every day, sometimes their entire lives. 

That realization was a physical blow to my heart. I felt it. Who could live this way? I saw the image of someone I know who recently took their own life. For a split second, I felt the agonizing pain of this person before the final event. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye I saw a cascade of pictures…elderly, refugees, prisoners, struggling parents, children in abusive situations, addicts, the terminally ill. The images went on and on. I couldn’t get them out of my head. 

I realized each of these haunted images were children of God, just like me and those I love. Suddenly they seemed more real. A part of me. Since I believe that we are all part of the energy of an intelligent Universe, of course they are each part of me. And part of you.

So what do we do? I asked that question and heard the answer very plainly, “Be love.” 

How does that work? Be the love you are. Live from your divine core. Start by being more kind and loving to yourself, your family and everyone and everything you encounter. Open your heart to hear divine guidance and you’ll always know what to do. Read about divine love, study it and talk to others about how to implement this in your own life. The divine intelligence within you knows exactly what to do. I was shown that by creating these “ripples of love” we can absolutely change our world.

Can these individual actions ease the pain of the people I saw? It’s a start.

I’m amazed by the changes and insights this quiet week has “gifted” to me. I know this level of understanding couldn’t have come about without the silence that allowed me to learn these vital “heart lessons.”

On day six of my seven days, this passage began my daily reading from Eileen Caddy’s “Opening Doors Within:”

“Every soul needs to withdraw from the world from time to time 
to find the peace which passes understanding.”

Perfect. Now to do my best to “be love.” Join me.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Three Reasons to Be Optimistic Right NOW

I’m always surprised when a quick note on Facebook gets more attention than I expected. Maybe it’s because often my “well thought out” topics are more ego driven than I’d like to admit and the “quick posts” often come from a deeper part of me. The part that really knows what’s going on. The same divine part that’s in you.

One of those posts came through a few weeks ago. I remember that morning being aware I “needed” to post on my business page when this popped into my head and I quickly typed:

Three reasons to be optimistic:

  1. You're alive.
  2. You're responsible for the life you create.
  3. The tools/resources/opportunities you need are within your reach NOW.

Go inside and ask the divine intelligence within you for guidance. Keep asking, be open to answers and ALLOW the divine to work through you.

Yes, it can be that simple! I've found that when my life was the hardest, my thinking greatly contributed to my difficult experience.

There's always another way. Your ego loves the drama, your divine self loves to see you happy and peaceful. Which inner voice will you listen to?

So why did people respond to this? Maybe it resonated with a current personal issue or maybe it reinforced their own beliefs. Here’s a few more thoughts on each point:

1) You’re alive. 
No matter the physical or emotional condition, humans on some level know where there’s life, there’s hope. There’s a chance to change something of consequence even when the only thing that can be changed are your thoughts about the situation. THAT changes everything. When your perspective changes, your experience changes.

2) You’re responsible for the life you create.
Here come those pesky thoughts again! While you may not believe you create issues such as family drama or serious situations like tragic accidents, natural disasters or acts of war, you are totally responsible for how you react to everything in your life. Your thoughts about life situations – big and small – create the quality of your life. Will you grow from challenges or stay a victim of circumstance? Do you want a more peaceful, happy life? Are you willing to stretch out of your “comfort zone” to find new ways to be in the world regardless of the situation? It’s not easy. 

I find encouragement from the words etched on a favorite bracelet: “If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.” These words remind me that I must change my thoughts and actions to create anything new in my life.

3) The tools/resources/opportunities you need are within your reach NOW.
When you can relax into this truth, everything changes. EVERYTHING. Just like MacGyver can think his way out of any dangerous situation, so can you. And you don’t need fancy science tricks to do it (but that IS super cool). While your ego thrives on fear, stress and overwhelm the true part of you, call it your soul, divine self, highest self or whatever you believe it to be, knows only peace, love and joy. Even in the most brutal situations, it is possible to tap into your divine core for guidance and to find the peace you crave. 

Remember this: the divine intelligence that is in you knows exactly what to do. Use prayer or meditation to go inside and ask that part of you, the part connected to all there is, for direction. I often ask, “what is my next best step here?” Sometimes I have to ask more than once. Or several times. That ego is strong when I’m fearful. But it’s not stronger than love. Love is the energy that will manifest in new ideas, a call from an old friend with an exciting opportunity or a new workshop on just the topic you need. Whatever you need to go forward will be provided when you allow divine intelligence to direct your actions.

And yes, that divine part of you is present in everyone else on the planet. While it’s tempting, and sometimes feels justified, in pointing out when others are acting from ego, it’s not your job to judge others. You’re responsible for your own thoughts and actions. Period. Trust that everything is happening for your ultimate good and, just maybe, the actions of others are giving you an opportunity to choose a more loving life.

Yeah, I know that doesn’t seem fair, but I didn’t make up this life thing. I just know life is better when I understand, accept and act from these truths:

1) I’m alive.
2) I’m responsible for the life I create.
3) The tools/resources/opportunities I need are within my reach NOW.